Fieldwork - for leaders

These guidelines are for academic supervisors who are planning, assessing the risk of and leading fieldwork. The guidelines also apply to individuals who are performing fieldwork alone. If you are not the leader of the fieldwork, you can refer to the guidelines Field work – for participants.

Norsk versjon - Feltarbeid - for deg som leder

Topic page about HSE | Pages labelled with fieldwork | Topic page about travel

What is fieldwork

During fieldwork, students and employees collect data or perform practical task in their field of study. Fieldwork is performed outside of NTNU's ordinary work and teaching environment.

These guidelines also apply to field courses, research cruises (fieldwork performed on a ship or boat), student projects outside of NTNU's campuses, site visits and other field trips.

Ordinary business trips do not count as fieldwork.


Line leaders

The line leader is to make sure that the academic supervisor is aware of and follows these guidelines. The line leader should also make sure that the unit is aware of any fieldwork going on.

If the fieldwork has more than 10 participants and lasts more than one week, or if it is particularly risky, the line leader should consider sending a safety representative to the field site. The line leader should make sure that a safety representative is chosen. If a separate safety representative isn't chosen, the unit's safety representative should act as the representative during the fieldwork. See more information on safety representatives.

Academic supervisors

The academic supervisor should make sure that the field leader has the necessary competence, see field leader. If a separate leader isn't designated for the fieldwork, the academic supervisor should perform the duties of the field leader.

Field leader

The field leader leads or controls participants of the field course. If you are doing fieldwork alone, you are consider your own field leader. The field leader should make sure that requirements to health and safety are fulfilled while planning and executing tasks. This should be done in conjunction with the academic supervisor.

Field leader - before the course

  • If several clients are cooperating on the field, they should sign a coordination agreement. The agreement should clarify which client is principally responsible for health and safety work, and who is the leader of the fieldwork.
  • Check if previous risk assessments have been made of this type of fieldwork. (Link to fieldwork without particular risks lower down) is easily assessed.
  • Perform a risk assessment of the fieldwork. The probability and consequences of accidents, sickness and other serious incidents such as storms, avalanches, earthquakes, and acts of war should be considered. Use this checklist for risk assessment of fieldwork (in Norwegian). It might be a good idea to divide the risk assessment into the following sections:
    - On the way to the field.
    - During the work.
    - Concluding the fieldwork.
  • Specifically for scientific cruises: All the equipment that is brought on board the boat/ship, as well as work to be performed in the ships laboratories and on deck, should be assessed. Permanant installations are the captain's responsibility, and do not need to be covered in the field risk assessment.
  • Take preventative measures to avoid or control risky situations. Specifically, routines should be planned for the work period. Depending on the results of the risk assessment, consider the need for vaccinations, and what type of first aid equipment should be brought along.
  • Create a travel plan.
  • Create a warning plan.
  • Bring your own communication equipment to the field. Make sure that this equipment will work on site.
  • Based on the risk assessment, consider what types of safety equipment might be needed. The equipment should be checked before the fieldwork commences. Bring spare parts and tools for simple repaires and maintenance.
  • The participants should receive training in the field in
    - a language they understand. Repeat the training if necessary. The training should include:
    - The contents, duration and work hours during the field session.
    - Who is responsible.
    - Risk assessment.
    - Behaviour in the field.
    - Good work technique and organization of work.
    - Use of safety equipment and personal protective equipment.
    - First aid, first aid equipment and emergency preparedness routines.
    - Information about insurance. As field leader you must inform the students that they are not insured through NTNU and encourage them to purchase their own insurance.
  • Make sure that everyone participating in the fieldwork fills out a field card.
  • Ask the participants about allergies, illnesses and other sensitive information.
  • If family and friends of the employees and students are coming out the field, their roll should be decided. If they are participating in the fieldwork, they have to take training and fill out a field card like everyone else. Everyone should also follow the guidelines in Fieldwork - for participants.
  • Before the fieldwork starts, all the participants should receive:
    - A short summary of the training to be given.
    - The full name and cellphone number of the field leader and the participants.

Field leader - during the fieldwork

  • Evaluate the work routines and travel plan, adjusting them if necessary.
  • Give the participants updated information about the risk factors connected to the work and how they should behave.
  • Any deputy for the field leader should be aware of the nature of the fieldwork and the risk assessment. The deputy should have access to the travel plan.
  • If the fieldwork is divided into groups, someone in each group should be responsible for contacting the field leader or their deputy. The responsible person in the group should make sure that requirements to health and safety are upheld in the group.
  • The responsible NTNU unit should be warned immediately according to the warning plan if there are:
    - Changes in the list of participants.
    - Changes in the travel plan.
    - Conditions in the country or place where the fieldwork is taking place that can affect the safety of the participants.
    - Conditions or events that may worry colleges and relatives at home. This also applies to events that don't directly affect the group, such as avalanches, flooding and earthquakes.
    - Accidents or other HSE discrepancies.

Field leader - in foreign countries

Local situations in foreign countries may require extra preparation before the work. Follow the Minstry of Foreign Affair's (UD) official travel advice (in Norwegian).

UD informs about special events, aid and has the contact information for embassies. In the event of accidents, natural disasters and political upheaval in foreign countries, the participants of the fieldwork should follow the recommendations of the local authorities.

For maritime travel, see the Norwegian Maritime Authority.

Field leader - concluding the fieldwork

  • As soon as it is feasible, inform you own unit that the fieldwork has ended.
  • Remove the field card no later than the day after the fieldwork is finished. Be careful with field cards that contain personal travel information.
  • The HSE work performed should be included in the assessment of the fieldwork. Participants should be included in the assessment.
  • Report problems and discrepancies.
  • If there were any accidents or unwanted incidents during the fieldwork, consider the need for a follow-up plan. Learn from the experiences and include them next time you are planning fieldwork. Report the results of the review to the line leader. Determine whether the participants need debriefing, and ensure the necessary debriefing.

Travel plan

The leader of the fieldwork should bring the travel plan. Keep a copy of the travel plan and the participants' field cards in the same place at the unit.

The travel plan should include:

  • Name and contact information for the field leader or their deputy during the fieldwork.
  • Contents and activities during the fieldwork, details of work hours and duties as well as free time, travel details with dates, accommodation information, agreements to visit firms, etc. Flight numbers and other transport details should be included.
  • The name and telephone numbers of all of the participants.
  • The risk assessment of the fieldwork.
  • The warning plan.
  • Attachments with the addresses and telephone numbers of:
    - Accomodations, firms that will be visited, etc.
    - The nearest police office or applicable emergency numbers.
    - Embassies and consulates.

Warning plan

Bring the warning plan as part of the travel plan on the fieldwork. The warning plan should contain:

  • When and how often the field leader should report back to their unit at NTNU. Agree who should be the contact person at the unit, and what should be done if the reporting routines are broken. This might inquiry, search, etc.
  • A summary of the warning routines for different accidents and other unwanted happenings, as described in NTNU's emergency preparedness plan.

Field cards

Field card for participants (pdf) | Field card for participants (docx)\\Field card for participants at NTNU University Museum | Field cards for Faculty of engineering

Field card for leaders (pdf) | Field card for leaders (docx) | Field card for leaders at NTNU University Museum | Field cards for Faculty of engineering

All the field participants should fill out a field card, unless the risk assessment shows that (link to field work without special risks) there are no particular risks associated with the fieldwork. One person working alone in the field is consider their own field leader, and should therefore fill out the field leader card.

The fieldwork is over for a participant at the point when the person is no longer following the travel plan at the end of the trip.

Participants who are planning a private trip in conjunction with the fieldwork should supply information on their travel schedule and the date and time for their return on the field card.

The field cards should provide necessary information about all of the participants. The unit should have a specific place to keep field cards. For research cruises, the field cards should be kept by the unit responsible for the cruise. Units that have participants of cruises or fieldwork organized by another unit should still keep track of the names and contact information of the participants from their unit.

Remove the field cards no later than the day after the fieldwork has been concluded. Be careful with cards that contain personal travel information.

Drug usage

The usage of drugs is not acceptable during fieldwork. This also applies to the field leader and their deputy outside of work hours, because they are responsible for any situations that might occur.

Fieldwork without any particular risks

If the risk assessment of some fieldwork shows that this type of fieldwork doesn't have any particular risks, the fieldwork can be completed in a much simpler manner. This might apply to company visits near NTNU. In this case, the field should:

  • Fill out the field card for the field leader.
  • Make a participant list with the names and phone numbers of all the participants in the fieldwork.

The field leader should bring this information to the fieldwork. Keep a copy at the unit. Perform a new risk assessment if the conditions are different than anticipated in the original assessment.



NTNU does not have insurance for students, cf Regulations for governmental financial management §20, neither will NTNU refund expenses students may have related ot insurance premiums.

Students are covered for occupational injuries through the national insurance for occupational injuries that occur at the place of education during teaching, so long as the student is a part of the national insurance system. During fieldwork, the students are not covered outside of teaching hours. See more information about insurance for students.

Students are recommended to have separate insurance.


For employees, a special agreement for travel on the government's bill applies. See the governmental employee handbook 9.2.13 §13 and 9.3.13 §13. For more information on the occupational injury coverage and group life insurance for public employees, see the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund, insurance.

Working hours, wages, time off system, etc.

Working hours, wages, time off system, etc. is regulated by Special agreement for fieldwork at NTNU (in Norwegian) and Special agreement for short-term appointments to fieldworks at NTNU (in Norwegian).

International local emergency numbers

NTNU has an emergency preparedness agreement with the Norwegian Church Abroad. The Norwegian Church Abroad has created an app with emergency numbers all over the world. The app uses mobile networks and GPS to position the user. You can also add information about your insurance provider and contact information to nearest of kin and employer. The app is available for iPhone, Android and Windows phones.

The app is free and can be found by searching for "sjømannskirken" or "nødnummer" in your app store. For more information, see the Norwegian Church Abroad Webpages (in Norwegian).


Report accidents and other unwanted incidents as soon as possible and according to (link to warning plan).

If you are unable to contact the correct person on the warning list, call +47 800 80 388. This is NTNU's emergency preparedness phone line and is covered by Securitas. Note that Securitas will call you back from the number +47 22 57 73 00.

The Norwegian Church Abroad can help students and employees abroad. The Norwegian Church Abroad has a 24-hour emergency preparedness phoneline: +47 95 11 91 81. The Norwegian Church Abroad also has a free emergency app for smartphones (in Norwegian).

The emergency numbers 110, 112 and 113 can't be used from your cell phone or other telephones outside of the country. Contact information for the emergency medical communication central (AMK) in Sør-Trøndelag: +47 73 51 80 00.

If a participant is struck by an accident, the police or NTNU should warn the nearest of kin. The field leader or other participants should not notify the nearest of kin!

Help (mostly in Norwegian)

NTNU regulations

Legislation (mostly in Norwegian)

Contact Information


Approved by the HSE leader- September 20 2013 - HMSR07E - ePhorte 2013/11270